From whisky festivals to distillery visits, and even the odd award or two, editor Kristiane Sherry reflects on her time at Master of Malt as she gets set to depart for pastures new.
Usually, when you sit down to start writing a piece, you know exactly what’s going to happen. You’ve usually interviewed someone brilliant, or there’s some breaking news. Or perhaps you’ve tasted something so fabulous you want to tell its story – philosophy, production, palate. This piece is more like a full stop. Today is my last day at the family home we’ve come to call MoM Towers.
It feels tired (and indeed tiring) to focus on the sadness, anxiety and frustrations of life over the last 12-14 months. But I will say that it’s been soul-affirming to go through it all with the wonderful team here. From all the features and guides to video content and Instagram Lives on social, we’ve entertained ourselves (and hopefully some of you!) through the tough months with the wonder of content, drinks storytelling, and most importantly, community. It’s that last part I’m going to miss the most.
Instead, I want to focus on some of the more joyful moments over the past almost-four years. Because it’s been quite the riot! For all the Islay fans, I’d like to draw your attention to our coverage of Fèis Ìle! The Islay Festival is (was – but I am sure it will be back!) a celebration of the island’s whisky and music, that saw us undertake a whistle-stop tour of each distillery. Want something shorter with added lolz? The 2019 highlights reel pretty much sums it up!
Highlights don’t just include what we do here at Master of Malt. In the last few years, there’s been a seismic change in terms of diversity, inclusion and representation in the drinks industry. While there’s still a long way to go, and it feels like the focus has so far focused solely on binary gender, I’m cheered by the increasing sense that whisky (and indeed wider spirits) really are for everyone, regardless of ethnicity, sexuality, age, or anything else. I’m delighted that our International Women’s Day coverage this year reflected this. If you’re in need of celebrating the progress we have collectively made as a sector, have a read right here! But let’s not revel too long – we’re not there yet, and we all have a part to play in changing that.
There’s not enough space (even digitally!) to celebrate all the incredible distillers, bartenders, strategists and beyond that I’ve met and been personally inspired by during my time here. And a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has taken a call, met for a drink, or hosted me – grateful doesn’t even come close. It’s dangerous to shout out individuals, but some of the greatest learning curves came on visits to Balcones, Milk & Honey, Kyrö, St George Spirits, WhistlePig, Isle of Raasay, and Cooper King. Whisky is incredible, but it’s nothing without the passion and approaches of the people behind it.
Sticking with people, and the team here at Master of Malt… there are no words. The editorial, content and PR team – names you may know, like Henry, Adam, Jess, Sam, Jon and Mariella – are talented, witty voices that aren’t afraid to challenge and change the game. But these qualities extend deep behind the scenes, too. The incredible customer service team, the army of web developers, innovative folks across marketing, buying, merch, fulfilment and beyond – Team MoM are a truly marvellous bunch. We’ve collectively scooped a bunch of awards over the years; the two that mean most to me are Best Blog at the UK Social Media Communications Awards, and In-House Team of the Year at the Digital Growth Awards. Team MoM is a team of superstars, and I shall miss everyone terribly.
But perhaps this is less of a full stop and more of a semicolon. In a joyful twist, I’m going to remain co-hosting the Pour & Sip twice-monthly live tastings. Not familiar? It’s a whisky subscription service, and more. It’s a proper community of whisky geeks, new and (cask?) seasoned. And we have fun. Check it out – and come and join the fun.
Until we meet again via the written word, a virtual tasting, or perhaps, one day soon, over a dram, keep sipping, folks!